Restart by Gordon Korman
A bad fall has left eighth-grade Chase Ambrose with amnesia. He can’t remember anything about his life before the accident. As he slowly pieces together clues about his life, Chase realizes that he was a star athlete, team captain, and a bully. He is horrified to discover that people are afraid of him. As he becomes reacquainted with his two best friends, Chase wonders what they ever had in common.
Sidelined from the football field by his concussion, Chase begins spending time making videos with one of his former targets, Brendan Espinoza. He joins the video club and finds himself facing the wrath of Shoshanna Webber, whose twin brother was so victimized by Chase and his friends that he left home to attend music school.
Chase is left wondering if anyone is willing to allow him a restart and let him become the person he would rather be. He wonders if a restart is even possible for a bully like him.
Told from multiple perspectives, this novel shares the experiences of both the bully and the bullied with sensitivity and authentic voices. It is at times heartbreaking and at other times hilarious. I would highly recommend Restart for a middle-grade classroom library or as a read aloud. As always, you know your students best and what book they need at the right time.